Blogging is a strange occupation - a solitary writer in search of the sort of communion with others that used to happen in the pub, on the corner, on the bus is now engaging with others electronically instead. So much for progress.

THIS blog is about ideas - big and small - connected with one of the things I care about with a passion, namely the future of liberal thought in this country. I am instinctively a radical liberal, with a grudging belief in the value of markets but an abhorrence of statism and indifference, and a strong belief in social justice. I find Labour bankrupt of ideas, and the Tories intellectually flacid. This is my response.

I am intending always to stick to the point: there will be no rabble-rousing talk, and no wasted jibes at other parties and political philosophies.

Comments will be moderated, but anyone can leave one.

Friday, 10 October 2008

No, spelled with a 'B'...

Bankers. Don't you just love 'em? Not content with creating a crisis in their own industry by mispricing risk on doubtful derivative instruments and accumulating them to the point of near destruction, they have the temerity to wonder whether the taxpayer is 'doing enough' to bail them out of the mess. Moreover, after a helpful and well coordinated move by the central banks to cut interest rates as an assistance to them - not taxpayers and savers, by the way - they have the further effrontery to say that they 'might not pass the benefit on' to mortgage borrowers. Yet more indifference to the rest of us comes from the 'shock' that the governments of the western world are apparently not saving all of their banking bretheren, and are not quite prepared to back the hunch that interbank lending might get going again with borrowed cash and taxpayers' money to the tune of 1.5 times GDP.

Can we get this right for once? Banks are the servants of our economy, not the masters of it. The government has to assert the basic principle - which voters have now clearly realised and politicians should quickly understand - that our finance system is too important, should be made less important, and should be placed in the hands of people with common sense. Spivs, self-regarding quants and 'masters of the universe' need not apply this time.

As winter comes on, and pensioners on low incomes face hypothermia again, bankers railing at the rest of us for our 'indifference' will be an affront.

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